I'm in the middle of my Wheel of Time re-read, and have come across something confusing. I seem to remember that initially, it was stated that the Three Oaths prevented an Aes Sedai from using the one power as a weapon, except against shadow-spawn and darkfriends, or in defence of her own life, that of her warder or another sister.

I think later on the series, the part about darkfriends seems to be omitted.

Now I'm reading The Dragon Reborn, and Nynaeve and Egwene are talking about forgetting about the Three Oaths, and striking down a member of the Black Ajah if they find one. But wouldn't this be OK, because Black Aes Sedai are darkfriends?

I will have to keep reading to remember, but I'm pretty sure there are other situations where Aes Sedai come face-to-face with this dilemma; but there shouldn't be a problem. What's going on?

2 Answers 2


It was a small retcon, done after New Spring as Jordan later decided that Darkfriends should always have been included.


Moiraine words the Third Oath, "I vow that I will never use the One Power as a weapon except against Shadowspawn, or in the last extreme of defending my life or that of my Warder or another sister." (New Spring 11) This ...wording of the Oath is supported by the reswearing of the Oaths by Pevara and Seaine (The Path of Daggers 26), and the BWB (24), among other sources.

Egwene words the Oath, "I vow that I will never use the One Power as a weapon except against Darkfriends and Shadowspawn, or in the last extreme of defending my life or that of my Warder or of another sister." (The Gathering Storm 43) The 'Darkfriend clause' is supported by Sheriam (The Great Hunt 23), Alanna (The Shadow Rising 31), Niall (The Dragon Reborn Prologue), Rand (The Fires of Heaven 2, 41), and also implications by Moiraine (New Srping 2) and the BWB (14).

RAFO, or error? And, if error, which is the correct wording?


Brandon said he had to make sure he got the wording right for the oaths, so he went back and copied it word for word from the previous books. Maria was the one that changed it, saying RJ decided that Darkfriends should have always been included in the oaths.

Source: http://www.theoryland.com/intvmain.php?i=489

  • Great, I though someone would have noticed this and asked it before me. I still think it leaves a whole in some places, because I'm sure there are some situations where Aes Sedai won't use the power on a darkfriend because they think they can't. Anyway, a paraphrase from BS, speaking for RJ, is the best we're going to get, I think.
    – Anthony
    Aug 11, 2012 at 11:38

The WoT wiki, at least, seems to think that the Oaths include the Darkfriends clause. My guess is that it simply slipped Jordan's mind - he filled the WoT-verse with so many details that by his own admission he couldn't keep all the characters straight!

Alternatively, Egwene and Nynaeve are new to the oaths - in the 3rd book they're still in various states of Aes Sedai hazing (come on, that's what it is...), so they might not yet have learned the Oaths. They certainly hadn't sworn the Oaths until many books later.

Another possibility (without knowing the page number I can't check) is that they were talking about forgetting the Three Oaths and opening fire before they knew if someone was a Darkfriend, just on suspicion. That would (if it was what they were talking about) clearly violate the Oaths.

  • I think the first point is more likely; the Dragon Reborn glossary clearly omits the point about darkfriends.
    – Anthony
    Aug 10, 2012 at 3:56

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